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Morpeth Town 2 Ryton & Crawcrook 1 STL Northern League Division Two

AFTER gaining a very credible point from the 4-4 draw at Thornaby last week, Morpeth Town returned to Craik Park looking to gain another three points to maintain their push for a promotion place.

In the opening period of play, both defences dominated, with neither side being able to force an opening. On 11 minutes, Wilkinson unleashed a shot from distance that cleared the bar without troubling Mundy in the Morpeth goal.

Morpeth’s first meaningful attack came on 20 minutes, Grant laid the ball back to Robinson who made space on the left and crossed to Fry, who, racing in at the far-post, crashed his header against the bar with Fish in the Ryton goal stranded.

On 30 minutes, Dobby let fly from 25 yards, his powerful shot stung the hands of Mundy and he gathered the ball at the second attempt.

Keenan and Grant were starting to control the midfield and Morpeth started to press forward. Gaining a corner on the left, Fry met Anderson’s corner at the near-post and rattled the framework of the goal for the second time in the game.

On 40 minutes, Fry drove forward from inside his own half and was bundled over 25 yards out. Captain Walmsley stepped up and fired the ball over the wall only to see it come back into play off the underside of the bar and the Ryton defence were able to scramble the ball clear.

Early in the second half, manager Nick Gray increased his attacking options with the introduction of McAlpine, Lunn and Andrews.

Committed to attack, Morpeth started to take the game to Ryton, Fry and Grant linked up on the left playing in Anderson, whose goal-bound effort was cleared off the line by an ever-desperate Ryton defence.

Morpeth continued to attack and a Fry header from an Anderson cross flashed across the face of the goal.

The incisive runs of Lunn were causing problems for the Ryton defence.

On 75 minutes, he cut inside and Fish in the Ryton goal saved with his feet.

From the resulting corner a header from Robinson went narrowly wide.

Morpeth regained possession, Grant crossed hard and low into the six-yard box, where Wilkinson diverted the ball towards his own net and Fish pulled off a fantastic save.

The goal that Morpeth’s attacking play deserved finally came on 80 minutes.

McAlpine gained possession on the edge of the box, jinked to the left and unleashed a shot that cannoned into the net off a despairing Ryton defender.

The lead was short-lived. Peacock gained possession on the edge of the Morpeth box and his shot found the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-1.

The never-say-die attitude of Morpeth Town this season was exemplified by Anderson as the game entered stoppage time.

Grant won the ball in midfield and played it up the right-hand touchline. Anderson out-paced the Ryton defence and, after taking a touch, he smashed the ball into the net from the acutest of angles.

Morpeth continued their climb up the table with another fully-deserved three points and if they can maintain this form over the Christmas period a promotion push in the new year is not out of the question.

Morpeth Town: Mundy, Henderson, Robinson, Grant, Johnstone, Walmsley, Wilson, Keenan, Anderson, Dormand, Fry, (Lunn), (Andrews), (McAlpine). P Gillan & Sons man-of-the-match: Jordan Fry.

The next match at Craik Park is Morpeth Town against Crook Town on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.